A History of Law and Lawyers in the GATT/WTO
The Development of the Rule of Law in the Multilateral Trading System

Monday, 1 June 2015
WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland Centre William Rappard, Room W

On 1 June 2015, the WTO launches a new book entitled “A History of Law and Lawyers in the GATT/WTO”, co-published with Cambridge University Press.

This book paints an interesting and sometimes surprising portrait of the evolution of the role that law and lawyers have played throughout the history of the multilateral trading system. It brings together original contributions from an unprecedented number of eminent current and former GATT and WTO staff members, including many current and former Appellate Body members, to trace the history of law and lawyers in the GATT/WTO and explore how the nature of legal work has evolved over the institution’s sixty-year history.

Moderator: Gabrielle Marceau, editor



Introductory presentation
Gabrielle Marceau, editor and counsellor in the Legal Affairs Division
11.35 — 12.00

Opening remarks and launch of the book
WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo

  12.00 — 13.30

The Development of the rule of law in the GATT, 1947 — 94

Jennifer Hillman — What is the rule of law?

Peter Williams — GATT’s first two Directors-General — both lawyers and diplomats

Stuart Robinson — Serving as a lawyer in GATT during the 1960s and 1970s

Frieder Roessler — A changing attitude towards the role of Law in GATT

Ulrich Petersmann — What the rule of law meant in the 1980s

Rosine Plank-Brumback — Setting the stage for reform

Mark Koulen — Anti-dumping disputes: leading the changes

Amy Porges — The place of law in the Uruguay Round negotiations


  13.30 — 14.00

Invitation to refreshments


  14.00 — 15.30

The expansion of the rule of law in the WTO, 1994 — today

Debra Steger — The establishment of the Appellate Body

Pieter-Jan Kuijper — Institutionalising the rule of law

A.V. Ganesan — Developing countries in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU)

Valerie Hughes — Panels and the Appellate Body: shared responsibility

Reto Malacrida — Insight into panel composition

Alejandro Jara — The future of legal work in the WTO

Ricardo Ramirez — The impact of the WTO’s increasing dispute settlement workload


  15.30 — 15.35

Concluding remarks
WTO Deputy Director-General, Karl Brauner



  15.35 — 15.40

WTO 20th anniversary message
WTO Deputy Director-General, Yi Xiaozhun




The book will be offered at a special 25% discount following the event.

Registration is mandatory for those who do not have WTO accreditation. Should you wish to register, please send an email to [email protected] by 28 May. Registered participants will need to leave their passport or ID card at the registration office before entering the building.

Launch event co-sponsored by Cambridge University Press and the World Trade Organization.